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Sandra Passchier

Professor, Earth and Environmental Studies

Center for Environmental & Life Sciences
MS, University of Amsterdam
PhD, Ohio State University
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Dr. Passchier is a Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Studies. Her research focuses on analyzing sequences of clastic sediments on glaciated continental margins with the ultimate goal of understanding changes in the behavior of ice-sheets under different climate states. She completed seven field seasons in the Polar Regions, on land and aboard research vessels. Currently she directs projects investigating West Antarctic ice behavior in high-latitude sediment archives acquired through deep-sea drilling. Her group's research is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Dr. Passchier serves on the Steering Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling beyond 2023. Previously she was a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee for Scientific Ocean Drilling (USAC) and the international steering committee on Antarctic Climate Evolution (SCAR-ACE). She also served as an expert reviewer of the 5th Assessment Report for the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC), was a Distinguished Lecturer for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and an instructor in the PAIS-IODP Antarctic Summer School at Texas A&M University, College Station TX.

Dr. Passchier's lab group analyses stratigraphic changes in facies assemblages and composition with the goal to determine past changes in relative sea level, glacial thermal regime and ice extent on high-latitude continental margins. Laboratory methods are employed to inform reconstructions of weathering, provenance (source area) and energy of the depositional environment (sink) through time. Grain-size distributions, mineralogy and major and trace element composition of the detrital fraction of sediment samples are collected along depth transects in geological archives exposed in outcrops and drillcores. Furthermore, time series based on sedimentary cyclicity are analyzed to assess variability in the drivers and rates of ice sheet and sea level change.

In the sedimentology lab at Montclair State University, Dr. Passchier has hosted undergraduate, M.S. and Ph.D. students, as well as post-doctoral fellows from the United States, Spain, Italy, and the Netherlands within the framework of post-expedition research. Dr. Passchier's teaching assignments include Sedimentology & Stratigraphy, Advanced Marine Geology, Glacial Deposits and introductory courses in the Geosciences.

Opportunities exist for involvement of both undergraduate and graduate students in research related to past and upcoming Antarctic IODP expeditions. Students with an interest in sedimentology, glacial geology, marine geology or geochemistry are encouraged to contact Dr. Passchier.

Selected Recent Publications (see CV for full publication list, *MSU graduate thesis advisees, **undergraduate independent study advisees):

*Kelly, A.L., Passchier, S., 2018. A sub-millennial sediment record of ice-stream retreat and meltwater storage in the Baltic Ice Lake during the Bolling-Allerod interstadial. Quaternary Science Reviews.

Valletta, R.D., Willenbring, J.K., Passchier, S., Elmi, C., 2018. 10Be/9Be ratios reflect Antarctic Ice Sheet freshwater discharge during Pliocene warming. Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

Colleoni, F., De Santis, L., Siddoway, C.S., Bergamasco, A., Golledge, N.R., Lohmann, G., Passchier, S. and Siegert, M.J., 2018. Spatio-temporal variability of processes across Antarctic ice-bed-ocean interfaces. Nature Communications. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04583-0

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Henao, V, **Sekkas, V., 2018. Sedimentary processes and facies on a high-latitude passive continental margin, Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geological Society of London, Special Publication, v. 475, doi:10.1144/SP475.3

Sangiorgi, F., Bijl, P., Passchier, S., Salzmann, U., Schouten, S., McKay, R., Cody, R., Pross, J., van de Flierdt, T., Bohaty, S., Levy, R., Williams, T., Escutia, C., and Brinkhuis, H., 2018. A warm Southern Ocean and retreated Wilkes Land ice sheet (East Antarctica) during the mid-Miocene. Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02609-7.

Passchier, S., *Ciarletta, D., **Miriagos, T., Bijl, P., Bohaty, S., 2017. An Antarctic stratigraphic record of step-wise ice growth through the Eocene-Oligocene Transition. Geological Society of America Bulletin, Vol. 129, doi: 10.1130/B31482.1.

*Hansen, M.A. and Passchier, S., 2017. Oceanic circulation changes during early Pliocene marine ice-sheet instability in Wilkes Land, East Antarctica. Geo-Mar Lett., doi:10.1007/s00367-016-0489-8

*Hansen, M. A., Passchier, S. Khim, B.-K., Song, B., and Williams, T., 2015. Threshold behavior of a marine-based sector of the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in response to early Pliocene ocean warming, Paleoceanography, 30, doi:10.1002/2014PA002704.

**Orejola, N., Passchier, S., and IODP Expedition 318 Scientists, 2014. Sedimentology of lower Pliocene to Upper Pleistocene diamictons from IODP Site U1358, Wilkes Land margin, and implications for East Antarctic Ice Sheet dynamics. Antarctic Science, doi:10.1017/S0954102013000527.

Passchier, S., Bohaty, S.M., Jimenez-Espejo, F., Pross, J., Roehl, U., van de Flierdt, T., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., 2013. Early Eocene to middle Miocene cooling and aridification of East Antarctica. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 14 (5), 1399-1410, doi:10.1002/ggge.20106. (Research Highlight in Nature Geoscience, June 2013).

Stocchi, P., Escutia, C., Houben, A.J.P., Vermeersen, B.L.A., Bijl, P.K., Brinkhuis, H., DeConto, R.M., Galeotti, S., Passchier, S., Pollard, D., and IODP Expedition 318 scientists, 2013. Relative sea level rise around East Antarctica during Oligocene glaciation. Nature Geoscience, online April 21, doi:10.1038/ngeo1783.

Houben, A.J.P., Bijl, P.K., Pross, J., Bohaty, S.M., Passchier, S., Stickley, C.E., Roehl, U., Sugisaki, S., Tauxe, T., van de Flierdt, T., Olney, M., Sangiorgi, F., Sluijs, A., Escutia, C., Brinkhuis, H., and the Expedition 318 Scientists, 2013. Reorganization of Southern Ocean plankton ecosystem at the onset of Antarctic glaciation. Science, 340, no. 6130, p. 341-344, doi: 10.1126/science.1223646


Sedimentary Geology; Ocean Drilling; Paleoclimatology; Continental Margins; Polar Science; Glacial Processes; Seafloor Processes. I run the Sedimentology Laboratory, now located in CELS 305G and 321A.



Research Projects

New project - Timing and Spatial Distribution of Antarctic Ice Sheet Growth and Sea-ice Formation across the Eocene-Oligocene Transition

The melt of land based ice is raising global sea levels with at present only minor contributions from polar ice sheets. However, the future role of polar ice sheets in climate change is one of the most critical uncertainties in predictions of sea level rise around the globe. The respective roles of oceanic and atmospheric greenhouse forcing on ice sheets are poorly addressed with recent measurements of polar climatology, because of the extreme rise in greenhouse forcing the earth is experiencing at this time. Data on the evolution of the West Antarctic ice sheet is particularly sparse. To address the data gap, we will reconstruct the timing and spatial distribution of Antarctic ice growth through the last greenhouse to icehouse climate transition around 37 to 33 Ma. We will collect sedimentological and geochemical data on core samples from a high-latitude paleoarchive to trace the shutdown of the chemical weathering system, the onset of glacial erosion, ice rafting, and sea ice development, as East and West Antarctic ice sheets coalesced in the Weddell Sea sector and beyond. Our findings will lead to profound increases in the understanding of the role of greenhouse forcing in ice sheet development and its effect on the global climate system.